Sunday, July 24, 2016

Welcome to FromDC2Iowa: Contents & Guide

Welcome to FromDC2Iowa, a collection of well over 1,000 blog posts and pages on a wide variety of topics, created and maintained by Nicholas Johnson since 2006.

Quick Links
* Most recent blog essays: "Doing It Ourselves," July 24, 2016

"An Answer to Athletes' Doping?" July 23, 2016

"Cancer: 'Of Course; But Maybe,'" July 13, 2016

"Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Talk; 'What Were They Thinking?'" July 4, 2016

"Focus on Muslims Misplaced After Shooting," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 17, 2016, p. A5

"Keeping Up With ISIS; There Is Another Explanation for Orlando," June 14, 2016

"On Being, Doing and 'Compromise;' What's Next for Senator Sanders' Revolution? Here's My Suggestion," June 9, 2016

"When 'The Morning After' Looks Even Worse," June 8, 2016

"Searching for the Media's Soul," June 7, 2016

"My Take on Supervisor Race," June 4, 2016

"Breaking Through Power: The Media," May 29, 2016

* Most recent UI & President Harreld-related items & comments:

"What Putin Can Teach Rastetter," May 9, 2016, as published in The Daily Iowan, May 6, 2016, p. 4

"What Russia's President Putin Can Teach Regents' President Rastetter," April 16, 2016 (an expanded version of The Daily Iowan's excerpt, above)

UI President Harreld - Feb. 2016," February 1, 2016

Cessation of Ongoing Harreld Repository [Feb. 29]. For the past six months, since the Iowa Board of Regents' selection of Bruce Harreld as president of the University of Iowa, September 1, 2015, this blog has endeavored to compile a relatively complete repository of links to, and comments about, the news stories and opinion pieces dealing with the Board of Regents, President Harreld, and related items of relevance to higher education in general and the University of Iowa in particular. They are contained in the blogs for September-October, November, December, 2015, and January and February, 2016 (all linked from this page). I thought it would be a useful resource for those looking for a single source to follow the saga, as well as for those in future years wishing to do serious research, or merely inform themselves, about this important slice of UI's history. Response from readers indicates it has at least provided the former function. Now as they say, "as a concession to the shortness of life," and a desire to get back to other writing, I am going to reclaim those daily hours of research for other tasks. As major UI stories worthy of individual blog essays come along they will, of course be blogged about from time to time.

For research beyond February 29, 2016, you might start with this list (any omissions were inadvertent; email me suggestions for more):

University of Iowa AAUP, https://twitter.com/UIowaAAUP

Mark Barrett, Ditchwalk, http://ditchwalk.com (look for Harreld Hire Updates)

Iowans Defending Our Universities, https://twitter.com/IowansDefending

John Logsdon, https://www.facebook.com/johnlogsdon.jr, and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/JohnLogsdon

Josiah Pickard, https://twitter.com/uimemory

. . . and well-crafted search terms in Google. -- N.J., February 29, 2016
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More Detailed Contents, Links & Guide

The most recent blog essay (as distinguished from the entries listing UI-related material) is:"Breaking Through Power: The Media," May 29, 2016

See more, below.

University of Iowa, most recent: The most recent month's collection in the ongoing repository of news, opinion pieces, and documents regarding the University of Iowa, its current president, Bruce Harreld, the Iowa Board of Regents, and related matters is: UI President Harreld - Feb. 2016," February 1, 2016

University of Iowa, earlier: Earlier collections of, and individual blog essays about, the repository of news, opinion pieces, and documents regarding the University of Iowa, its current president, Bruce Harreld, the Iowa Board of Regents, and related matters are:
UI President Harreld - Jan. 2016," January 1, 2016

"UI President Harreld - Dec. 2015," December 1, 2015

"UI President Harreld - Nov. 2015," November 1, 2015

"Business Background: Enough for University President?" September 2-October 31, 2015

Recent terrorism-related blog essays

Recent TIF-related blog essays

Recent other than (1) University of Iowa, (2) terrorism, or (3) TIF-related topics:
"Breaking Through Power: The Media," May 29, 2016

"What Putin Can Teach Rastetter," May 9, 2016, as published in The Daily Iowan, May 6, 2016, p. 4

"What Russia's President Putin Can Teach Regents' President Rastetter," April 16, 2016
"The Constitution, Supreme Court and People's Voice: Senate Ignoring the People's Voice," March 21, 2016
"Why Won't Media Give Bernie a Break?" March 23, 2016
"The Constitution, Supreme Court and People's Voice," March 21, 2016
"Random Thoughts on Tuition-Free Iowa Universities," March 11, 2016
"Water," February 29, 2016
"The State of the Media," February 28, 2016
"Our Communities' Second Priority," February 7, 2016
"Bernie's Extraordinary, Unacknowledged Accomplishment," February 3, 2016
Why Nobody 'Wins' the Iowa Caucus," February 1, 2016
"Caucus With Your Heart And Head -- For Bernie," January 28, 2016
"Why I'm Caucusing for Sanders and You Should Too," January 22, 2016
"Reasons for Hope in 2016," December 25, 2015
"Feeling the Bern at The Mill," December 9, 2015
"Anyone for Democracy," November 22, 2015
General instructions on searching by heading, date, or topic

(1) If you've come to FromDC2Iowa and landed on this page, rather than what you are looking for, it is because this is the default page, the opening page, for this blog.

(2) Many visitors are looking for recent blog posts. At the bottom of this page you will find suggestions. At this time they include: (1) material related to the Iowa Board of Regents process for selecting President Bruce Harreld, and his ongoing performance in office, (2) terrorism, ISIS and Syrian refugees, and (3) TIFs, and other transfers of taxpayers' money to the wealthy.

(3) It is also possible to go directly to specific blog posts within this blog. Here's how:

First, go to the top of this page where you will see the headline, "Welcome to FromDC2Iowa: Contents & Guide" and click on it there (not as reproduced in this sentence). That will clean this page by removing blog posts from earlier this month.

In that right hand column you will find two ways of accessing individual blog posts:
(1) Blog Archive. The first is under the bold heading "Blog Archive.". You will see the years from 2006 to the present. Click on a year, and the months of that year will appear. Click on a month and the individual headlines for the blog posts during that month appear. Click on a headline and you will be transferred to that blog post. (Once there, you will see the unique URL address for that blog post that you can use in the future, or share with a friend, as a way to reach it directly.)

(2) Google Search Nick's Blog or Website. Immediately beneath the Blog Archive is the bold heading "Google Search Nick's Blog or Website," followed by an empty box, and the instructions, "Insert terms above; then click here." (Although it offers the option to search the "Nicholas Johnson Web Site" as well, it is set to the default: "FromDC2Iowa Blog.") Use whatever search terms you think most appropriate, such as "University of Iowa," "terrorism," "TIFs," or "Harreld." Your click will open up a Google search Web page listing the relevant blog posts (if any) with the links you can click on to see them.

University of Iowa's new President Bruce Harreld.
Looking for the blog post containing extensive repository of documents, news, opinion pieces (updated daily) from September 2 through October 31, 2015, regarding the Iowa Board of Regents' process, and early selection of UI President-elect Bruce Harreld? -->Click here<--

For November 2015 coverage -- with documents, news stories, and opinion pieces -- from his first day on the job, November 2, through November 30, 2015 -->Click here<--

For the December 2015 coverage -->Click Here<--

For the January 2016 coverage -->Click Here<--

In addition to these blog posts, which primarily contain chronological lists of documents, news articles and opinion pieces -- along with some relatively brief commentary about some of the items -- there are also the following more traditional blog essays and newspaper columns by Nicholas Johnson on these subjects:

"Hiring Candid, Courageous University Presidents," August 29, 2015

"Should Bruce Harreld Be Given Serious Consideration in UI Search?" embedded in "Business Background: Enough for University President?" September 2, 2015

"Better Ways to Pick a New UI President," The Gazette, September 27, 2015, embedded in "Seven Steps for Transitioning Universities," September 27, 2015

"UI's President Could Have Been Chris Christie," October 3, 2015

"Parallels Between School Systems Staggering," Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 10, 2015, embedded in "UI and Higher Education in Context," November 9, 2015

"Trouble in River City: Corruption Creep," December 13, 2015

"Quick Draw Harreld and Why Language Matters," December 17, 2015

Terrorism, ISIS, Syrian Refugees.
Understanding Terrorist Thugs," The Daily Iowan, December 3, 2015

Nicholas Johnson, "Sober Risk Assessment Needed to Respond to Terror," Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 28, 2015

Nicholas Johnson, "Syria's Refugees: Job One and Job Two," The Gazette, November 1, 2015

"Is U.S. Response Strengthening ISIS?" September 19, 2014

For additional speech texts, columns and blog posts on these subjects, see "Samples of Nicholas Johnson's Prior Writing on Terrorism and War"

TIFs and Other Crony Capitalism Schemes For links to 44 blog essays on these topics since 2006 see, "TIFS: Links to Blog Essays"

# # #

Doing It Ourselves

Include People in Process

Nicholas Johnson

The Gazette, July 24, 2106, p. D3

I started life in a house on the former underground railroad, in an Iowa City with “northern racism” -- few black students and fewer professors, none of whom could find a barber to cut their hair, or a landlord to rent them an apartment.

I spent the 1950s in a Texas with “southern racism” – including the poll tax and other remnants of slavery those underground travelers escaped. I clerked for a federal court of appeals judge when civil rights decisions sparked burning crosses in judges’ yards.

Later, as a President Johnson appointee, I watched how he passed the Voting Rights Act, knowing it would hand the South to the Republicans.

And how, as a result of that act, the mud and gravel roads in southern black neighborhoods began to be paved. The number of southern black legislators increased from 5 to 313.

Those memories came back to me as I read that Cedar Rapids’ leaders had met regarding a sub-set of local gun violence that gets little public or media attention: young black gang members shooting each other.

Ultimately, those leaders created the Safe, Equitable and Thriving (SET) Communities Task Force.

Wisely, the members chose to focus, not merely upon the existence and consequences of these shootings, but upon their causes. They mentioned “poverty, social vulnerabilities, and other systemic hardships.”

Having done so, they realized their challenge is less about race relations (though that’s involved) than about the basic needs of all residents – a challenge confronting most American cities.

The usual approach lists things like jobs at livable wages, housing, transportation, and healthcare – noting their interrelationship. Three weeks ago this paper addressed the adverse effect on education from both inadequate housing (in an editorial) and insufficient transportation (in a column).

Perhaps our answer this time will be found, not alone in substance (like housing proposals) but in process. The Task Force might first find the problems by focusing on those most impacted by what Cedar Rapids lacks (for them), rather than those most benefited by what it has. It might focus more on listening to their stories, recording and reporting anecdotal evidence, than on cold data and multiple choice questions. [Photo credit: Unknown; interviewing people where they live may be more revealing than the multiple choice questionnaire results from those willing to attend meetings.]

What if identifying each individual’s problems came before those of the community, a search through the catalog of alternative solutions, pilot projects, and the difficult task of final implementation?

We might just find that, like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, we, too, have been “waiting for someone/to really discover America,” and that our democracy requires more than voting. It needs citizens who feel, and are, included in the identification as well as the resolution of our challenges.

Indeed, our leaders might wish to meditate upon Lao Tsu’s 2500-year-old observation that the goal of a good leader is that “When his work is done [the people] will say, ‘We did this ourselves.’”

Iowa City now has less “northern racism.” And Cedar Rapids can have less shooting by gang members. We can do it. But only when the people can say, “We did this ourselves.”
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As a former FCC commissioner, Nicholas Johnson highlighted the role of media in race perceptions and relations and urged increased station ownership by women and minorities. Contact: mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Answer To Athletes' Doping?

Lessons From the 'War on Drugs'

I'm not proud to say it. It wasn't a matter of health concerns or rigid discipline. As a licensed lawyer and public official at the time there was no alternative -- even while living as a hippie-public official. Illegal drugs could not be a part of my life. And so it has been to the present day.

That doesn't mean I'm a fan of our "War on Drugs." It seems to me that it has just promoted more crime, not less. It has, thereby, probably contributed to more deaths from the use of guns than from the use of drugs. Moreover, because there's no quality control of illegal drugs they cause even more deaths. It's occasionally involved our government in the cocaine trade. Not only has it cost taxpayers billions of dollars, it has kept the government from collecting taxes on drug sales, like it does with alcohol and tobacco. On occasions when it produced a dip in supply, it's simply driven up street prices and financial reward for drug traffickers. It has made America number one among nations in percentage of incarcerated citizens -- including more blacks working as prison laborers today than once worked as slaves.

In 2001, Portugal repealed all criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Fears of increased consumption proved unwarranted. Health services for addicts were cheaper than incarceration. There was a drop in teens' drug use, and HIV infections from dirty needles. The number of addicts seeking treatment more than doubled. See, e.g., Maia Szalavitz, "Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?" TIME, April 26, 2009.

This all came back to mind while reading the latest episode in sports' longest-running drama: the unsuccessful efforts to prevent athletes doping to improve performance. This time the accusation is that Russia has a state-supported doping operation that threatens to ban all of its athletes from performing in the forthcoming Olympic games. There has been so much written about what The Guardian calls "The Russian Doping Scandal" that it has devoted an entire section of its Web site to links to the stories.

Doping has been going on for at least 2000 years. ("The use of drugs to enhance performance in sports has certainly occurred since the time of the original Olympic Games [from 776 to 393 BC]. . . . [A] viscous opium juice [was] the drug of choice of the ancient Greeks." Larry D. Bowers, PhD, "Athletic Drug Testing," Clinics in Sports Medicine, April 1, 1998.) No wonder stopping it has proven to be an unwinnable challenge in virtually all sports, and from high school, to college, to the Olympics, to professional athletes.

As for the Olympics, The New York Times reports, "Results from the second wave of retesting [brought] the total number of implicated athletes to 98. The new results affected 30 athletes from eight countries who competed in four sports in Beijing, and 15 athletes from nine countries who competed in two sports in London, according to the I.O.C. . . . Revelations of a government-run doping program in Russia have called into question global sports’ antidoping system, as well as sports officials’ willingness to expose drug offenses. . . . [I]n a cat-and-mouse dynamic, both testing methods and doping methods have gotten more sophisticated, with those seeking to beat the system devising new ways to skirt detection." Rebecca R. Ruiz, "Russia’s Paralympic Team Is Facing a Ban of Its Own," The New York Times (online), July 23, 2016, p. A1.

The UCLA Bruins Coach Red Sanders' saying (often erroneously attributed to Vince Lombardi), "Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing," describes the attitude of many coaches, athletes, fans, and sports reporters. That being the case, why should anyone care about doping? Equipment changes enhance performance -- from pole vaulting poles, to baseball bats, golf clubs, and their balls. These and other techniques are not deemed unsportsmanlike, even though they make it difficult to compare yesteryear's record books with today's.

Doping is different. Since it is banned, those who do it anyway are considered to have cheated their way to an unfair advantage. In contests where hundredths of a second can make the difference between a medal winner and an also ran, it's the individualistic equivalent of an entire team conspiring to throw a game. But many things are done to enhance performance -- training in the scientifically most efficient way, training at a higher altitude (gaining an oxygen boost upon return), or controlling diet. Athletes who can devote their full time to training will enhance their performance over those who cannot.

Like illegal street drugs, doping can also involve overdoses, and the use of impure and untested substances without quality control. Need athletes be protected from themselves? Injuries and death can occur in many sports; athletes "assume the risk," both legally and morally. One of the more dramatic examples are the brain injuries from football. Education programs may be desirable, but shouldn't adults be otherwise as free to do their own benefit-cost risk assessments of doping as of any athletic or other risk?

Perhaps organized athletics, including the Olympics, should consider abandoning anti-doping efforts that have proven ineffective -- certainly in insuring that every competing athlete is clean; that encourage subterfuge, lying, and risks to athletes' health, and ever more sophisticated efforts to design difficult-to-detect substances. Perhaps they should consider the sports equivalent of the Portugal approach. Let doping join the list of things athletes and their coaches can use to enhance performance -- using drugs that are regulated and used under the supervision of medical doctors and pharmacists.

Given the widespread practice of doping in all sports, the results would be little different from today. But it would be safer, less deceitful, and create a more honorable and level playing field for athletes, coaches, and fans alike.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cancer: 'Of Course; But Maybe'

Cancer: 'Of Course; But Maybe'

Nicholas Johnson

The Gazette, July 17, 2016, p. 6A

Louis C.K. has a stand-up bit he calls, “Of Course ...; but maybe ...”

The Cancer Moonshot Summit June 29 brought it to mind. [Photo source: White House]

Vice President Joe Biden has been tasked with accomplishing ten years of cancer progress in the next five years.

Louis C.K. hasn’t used “Of course ...; but maybe ...” regarding health care, but he could. Here’s my example, based on UNICEF’s reporting one billion people “don’t have a safe water supply within fifteen minutes’ walk” and “a lack of clean water and basic sanitation is responsible for 1.6 million preventable child deaths each year.”

“Of course, we should develop more medicines to treat children’s diseases from impure water. Of course. We should provide medicines and personnel to help those children. Of course, we should. But maybe, just maybe, we should also provide those children easy access to pure water and sanitation facilities.”

The Cancer Moonshot program, and Vice President Biden’s speech at the Summit, almost exclusively focus on the detection and treatment of the roughly 200 forms of cancer.

Most of the 20 “activities to support the goals of the Cancer Moonshot” involve drugs — easing and speeding their discovery, clinical trials, patents, and patients’ access. There is genetic research, and the search for effective and less toxic therapies. Some are efforts to improve communication and coordination between agencies, institutions, researchers and doctors, the creation and sharing of big data and the Genomic Data Commons, and speeding up information distribution.

“Of course, we should launch a Cancer Moonshot, find a cancer cure, and alleviate patients’ suffering from cancer and its treatment. Of course, we should support doctors’ research. Of course. But maybe, just maybe, we should devote at least as much in the way of personnel and resources to discovering and eliminating the carcinogens to which we are all exposed.”

When Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein set out to understand and report the story of the 1972 Watergate break-in, one of their most useful sources was FBI Associate Director Mark Felt — known only as Deep Throat until he revealed his identity in 2005.

Never direct or fulsome, Deep Throat’s suggestions sounded more like those in a Zen master’s koan. One of his most useful was, simply, “Follow the money.”

It’s equally useful advice in our search for cancer’s causes.

Who profits from cancer? Not who profits from researching and treating it. Who profits from causing cancer?

Major causes of cancer are carcinogens — substances in our homes, workplaces, air we breathe, water we drink, and food we eat.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists 132 known carcinogens — just in the workplace. Physicians for Social Responsibility provides 10 categories of carcinogens and their cancers.

Virtually all carcinogens are the products or byproducts of corporations. In addition to which there are 100,000 additional substances we ingest that haven’t even been tested — thanks to a subservient Congress. [Photo source: unknown]

The tobacco industry hooks junior high kids (the “replacement smokers” for the 400,000 it kills annually) on its cancer-causing product with addictive nicotine.

But most of our exposure to corporate cancer results from neither our choice nor a corporate executive’s homicidal tendencies. It’s the result of our unawareness, congressional subservience, and corporate executives’ everyday profit maximization (carcinogens may be cheaper than safe alternatives), apathy, or ignorance.

“Of course, we should support cancer research and treatment. But maybe, just maybe, we should also go after the corporations that are contributing the carcinogens that cause the problem.”
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Nicholas Johnson was the co-director of the former University of Iowa Institute for Health, Behavior and Environmental Policy. Comments: nicholasjohnson.org

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Monday, July 04, 2016

Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Talk; 'What Were They Thinking?'

Here Are Some Possibilities
For a politician long praised for his political smarts, it was a striking error of judgment on [Bill] Clinton’s part to walk to [Attorney General Loretta] Lynch’s plane for any kind of conversation. It was a similarly huge lapse on the part of the attorney general, who was appointed by Clinton as a U.S. attorney in 1999, to allow him to come aboard for any kind of conversation.

-- Dan Balz, "How Everyone Looks Bad Because Bill Clinton Met With Loretta Lynch," The Washington Post (online), July 2, 2016
NOTE, July 5, 2016, 1:00 p.m.: Since writing this blog essay, the FBI released its report regarding possible criminal violations by Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private email server. What follows in this section is a link to the New York Times story about FBI Director James Comey's news conference, and a link to a transcript of his remarks on that occasion. They are followed by what I believe to be the most significant portions of that transcript. (For anyone interested in the case, the full transcript is very much worth reading.) Finally, I add some comments of my own. While this information is of sufficient significance to be noted here, none of it affects the analysis in the earlier blog essay regarding the meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch -- with the possible exception of the timing of Director Comey's statement (about which I comment).

Mark Landler, "F.B.I. Director James Comey Recommends No Charges for Hillary Clinton on Email," The New York Times (online), July 5, 2016; "Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System," FBI National Press Office, Washington, D.C., July 5, 2016
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

. . .

She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.

. . .

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
My thoughts. (1) If the only possible prosecution was under the statute requiring proof of "intention," then I think Director Comey's announced decision not to prosecute is, if not inevitable, at least reasonable lawyering by a prosecutor for the reasons he cites (quoted above). But if there are statutes making it a criminal offense to be "extremely careless" when handling top secret documents (without the need to prove "intention" to risk disclosure), or if "any reasonable person person . . . should have known that an unclassified system was no place for" classified documents or email conversations -- both of which Director Comey charged as having occurred -- then more explanation is called for as to why those criminal statutes were not used.

(2) Timing. (a) Media. As I write this, the evening news programs have not yet aired. By Comey's releasing this statement today [July 5] rather than tomorrow the story will have to compete with news coverage of the joint Obama-Clinton campaigning in North Carolina today, thus weakening the FBI's decision's adverse impact on Clinton (as well as Trump-camp criticisms of both Comey's decision and Clinton's use of private email servers). (b) Speed. The past Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were holidays for millions of Americans -- including some journalists -- an ideal time to kill, or reduce the impact, of stories one would rather censor. Maybe Comey had already written his statement by mid-week of last week, predicting how the Saturday morning questioning of Hillary was likely to go. But no matter how one counts the time, going from a Saturday morning questioning session to a Tuesday morning statement, regarding a year-long investigation involving tens of thousands of documents, is more than fast-track service for any government agency. I take the Director at his word that no one from the White House or Justice Department interfered with the investigation's outcome. But that does not necessarily exclude suggestions as to when a decision would be preferred.

(3) CNN has created a two-minute video with clips contrasting Hillary's statements with the FBI's findings revealed by Director Comey. Gregory Krieg, "FBI Boss Comey's 7 Most Damning Lines on Clinton," CNN Politics, July 5, 2016, 1805 ET. Look at the top of the page, immediately below the big video screen, for the small picture from the video titled "Watch the FBI Refute Clinton Email Claims" (it has no separate, unique URL) which runs 2:03

(4) Criminal statutes. The following is not legal advice, is not the product of thorough research, and is not intended to suggest that Hillary Clinton violated any of these laws -- none of which seems to precisely cover the facts in her case (some deal with theft of government property that includes documents, others the deliberate doing of harm to the United States, or removing documents with no intention of returning them). But together they give some sense of what federal criminal statutes provide (as found in Title 18 of the United States Code) that might be thought to be in some way related. For what I believe does represent solid legal research and analysis (whether or not other lawyers will agree with it) -- from last January no less -- see Dan Abrams, "Trump is Wrong, Hillary Clinton Shouldn’t Be Charged Based on What We Know Now," LawNewz, January 29, 2016, republished, March 2, 2016 (continued with a link at the bottom of Abrams’ editorial).
18 USC 793
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, . . . note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody . . ., or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody . . . , and fails to make prompt report of such loss . . . — Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

18 USC 1924
(a) Whoever, . . . by virtue of his office . . . becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. . . . (c) [T]he term “classified information of the United States” means information originated, owned, or possessed by the United States Government concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States that has been determined pursuant to law or Executive order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security.

18 USC 2071(b)
(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully . . . removes . . . or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any . . . document . . . filed or deposited . . . in any public office . . . shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. (b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, . . . document, paper, . . . unlawfully . . . removes . . . the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.

18 USC 641
Whoever . . . knowingly converts to his use or the use of another . . . any record . . . of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, . . . Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years . . ..

[The original blog essay begins here.] The FBI has been investigating whether Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, did anything illegal by establishing a private server for her official and private email -- thereby subjecting top secret and other classified government documents to greater risk of hacking or other disclosure.

She was subjected to three and a half hours of questioning by the FBI on Saturday, July 2.

Normally, it would befit media savvy, sophisticated political campaign managers to choose that date (the beginning of a three-day July 4th holiday weekend), and to control her movements as they did (they avoided any still or video pictures of her leaving home, entering or leaving the FBI offices). They thereby insured there would be the least possible media coverage that day, and that stories about FBI questioning of their candidate will have faded by July 5th -- further guaranteed by arranging for President Obama to campaign alongside her on the 5th. In this case, however, Hillary is haunted -- as she and her managers have acknowledged -- by a majority public perception (that may be both untrue and unfair) that she lies, is secretive and untrustworthy. When the FBI investigation is focused on one of the reasons for that public perception -- her home-based personal email server while Secretary of State -- her managers' minimizing public knowledge regarding the FBI's questioning might not have been the wisest choice.

But those issues I leave to others. This blog essay is not about how she handled her emails, her experience and qualifications for the presidency, or the desirability of her holding that office. It is how events of last week were perceived and covered by the media, Washington insiders, and the rest of us.

On Monday evening, June 27, former president Bill Clinton, Hillary's husband, held his plane at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor executive airport to await the arrival of Attorney General Loretta Lynch's plane a few minutes after his plane had been scheduled to take off. Ken Kurson, "EXCLUSIVE: Security Source Details Bill Clinton Maneuver to Meet Loretta Lynch; Former president delayed Phoenix takeoff to snare '20-25 minute encounter' with Attorney General," The Observer (online), July 1, 2016.

Dan Balz is one of Washington's most experienced and ablest political reporters. His take on the Clinton-Lynch meeting, in the excerpt quoted above, was the take of most reporters and Washington insiders -- for them to meet at that time was "a striking error of judgment," and a "huge lapse" (for reasons explored below).

Is that a possible explanation? Maybe. As we say, "anything's possible." The most likely explanation? I don't think so.

I have no inside knowledge of the events and conversations preceding and during the Clinton-Lynch visit, involving them and others. How could I have? But there are certainly more possibilities than those being offered by the parties, their apologists, and the media.

Clinton and Lynch are both lawyers; she is the nation's (or at least the government's) top lawyer. Both are fully seeped in the professional requirements of legal ethics (a major subject of their annual, mandatory Continuing Legal Education courses). They had to have been aware of the impropriety of a private meeting between an interested party (Bill Clinton, Hillary's husband) and the ultimate decider during this investigation of Hillary Clinton. If this were already a contested judicial or administrative agency proceeding the meeting would have constituted what is called an ex parte contact with a judge -- an occasion at which both parties are required to be present -- that could result in disbarment of the offending lawyer.

Both are politically savvy. President Clinton has made his share of bad decisions during his career as a politician, but most have been personal rather than political -- and no one is suggesting this one was in the former category. Indeed, he is probably one of the most well informed, experienced, sophisticated and successful politicians of our time. Lynch is politically experienced as well -- a Harvard law graduate who practiced law with two of the nation's prestigious law firms, as a prosecutor going after Democratic and Republican office holders alike, and successfully maneuvering through her Senate hearing.

What were the motives behind the Clinton-Lynch encounter? There is no explanation that I find persuasive. But the one I find least persuasive is the possibility that the two of them were totally oblivious to the legal, professional, political, media, and other consequences of their getting together for a chat about golf and grandchildren at this time, in this way, in this place.

Here are some other possibilities.

(1) They did talk about the merits and disposition of the Hillary investigation. Of all the possibilities, this is the least likely in my opinion -- in part because of the points made above.

(2) However, . . . depending on when the decision was made to schedule her FBI questioning for Saturday morning (July 2), they might have discussed that scheduling.

The Benghazi report was going to come out the next day (June 28). That might have seemed worth talking about.

They might have talked about the advantages of replacing the Attorney General with the appointment of an independent counsel -- thereby postponing the conclusion of the investigation beyond the November election.

(3) Perhaps Bill just wanted to reestablish and reinforce the Clintons' personal relationship with Lynch -- to implant a face on what might otherwise be a dry legal document. Yes, money is probably the most persuasive element of political power in Washington. But close behind, if not ahead of money are personal relationships. These may not be Iowa-style "friendships," perhaps, let alone b-f-f relationships. As President Truman is said to have observed, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

But establishing, and maintaining personal relationships is a major part of a lobbyist's job description. It's the part that doesn't always involve pressing the client's case directly. It's dropping in for a chat about whatever; sharing and paying for a drink or lunch, round of golf, fishing trip, pro ball game, or travel abroad. It's said that before a lobbyist asks a member of Congress for a favor, he or she should first do ten favors for the member.

As Maritime Administrator or FCC commissioner I always refused that kind of contact, but I would take time to visit with almost anyone coming to my office (if it would not violate the spirit of ex parte prohibitions). One of my visitors was an AT&T representative. He was a tall, friendly guy from Alabama, with a southern accent and smooth manner, great stories, and an ability to relate to anyone. He knew me well enough to never talk about AT&T business, and I'd like to believe AT&T's lawyers' efforts to remove me from AT&T cases, coupled with my dissenting opinions, would support my belief that he had no effect on my positions on telephone issues. But he did lighten my day and I was always happy to chat with him. I have never had my own private jet plane, but if I had one back then I wouldn't have been surprised, if the occasion arose, that he might have walked across a tarmac to pay me a visit.

Maybe that was a part of Bill Clinton's instinct; after all, he had given Lynch's career a big boost with a U.S. Attorney appointment earlier in her career. It couldn't hurt, he might have thought, to have his mere presence remind her of that without even mentioning the appointment -- or the pending investigation of his wife.

(4) Maybe this meeting was a way of signaling the Attorney General's preferences to the FBI and Justice personnel. The President, of course, has already done this with his earlier statements suggesting he doesn't believe Hillary's private email server was all that serious, his endorsement of her (before the Democratic National Convention selected her or the FBI investigation was concluded), and his agreement to go campaigning with her this week.

Those who wish to thrive (or at least survive) within any bureaucracy, including government, develop sensitive antennae that pick up on signals from those higher up the food chain. Of all the civil service, among those whose honor I respect the most are those at the Justice Department and FBI. I'd like to believe they'd not be swayed in their decisions by anything other than the merits of a case.

But Bill Clinton may have thought that, whatever else Justice and FBI employees might surmise from public revelations of the Clinton-Lynch meeting, they would at least aware that their top boss has a sufficiently friendly and casual relationship with Hillary's husband to have had this meeting with him at this time. And he may have thought these signals from the President and Attorney General would be of benefit to Hillary with regard to the election generally, and this investigation in particular.

(5) It's possible that Bill Clinton, Lynch, or both wanted the Attorney General to have a conflict -- and therefore be able to stay out of the FBI's Hillary investigation. There were enough security and other folks around at the time of the Clinton-Lynch visit that they would both have to have known that the meeting would become public knowledge.

How might Lynch's recusal advantage them?

The Attorney General was confronting a lose-lose choice. As the polls reveal, and many commentators are now saying, the fact that a majority of the public thinks Hillary lies and can't be trusted is one of her major hurdles at this time. (Obviously, I'm not asserting those public perceptions are warranted or fair; I'm just saying they exist and are a political problem for Hillary as a presidential candidate.)

If the FBI indicts Hillary, and the Attorney General either lets that decision proceed without comment, or expresses support for it, she would engender the enmity of the the entire Democratic Party establishment on the eve of the Party's convention. It would be even worse if the FBI gives Hillary a soft slap on the wrist and does nothing more, and then the Attorney General intervenes and, with the advice of staff members, essentially reverses the FBI and imposes serious penalties.

On the other hand, if the FBI doesn't indict Hillary, and Lynch goes along with that result, or worse if they do indict and Lynch essentially reverses their decision, it would support Trump's assertion that "the fix is in," reflecting badly both on the Attorney General and the President.

Following the revelations, and criticism, of her meeting with Bill Clinton the Attorney General appears to have taken what are seemingly two inconsistent positions. The first was that she would simply accept whatever the FBI decides. Because this seemed to raise some questions about the propriety of her doing so, given her responsibilities for review and approval, she then seemed to backpedal a bit, reserving the right to intervene.

Anyone with the political history and power of the Clintons, and their campaign and other staffers, might very well have access to individuals within the Justice Department, or FBI, willing to pass along information about the status of the investigation. (Again, for reasons stated earlier, I do not believe this would happen with those employees; but such things are not unknown in Washington.) Hillary certainly at least knows what she was asked during her FBI questioning that may have given her some clues. But if, for example, there were inside reports, and they indicated that the upper levels of the Justice Department want an indictment, but the FBI seems to be more lenient, there would be an advantage to the Clinton campaign to remove the Attorney General from the process.

Bottom line. I'm not suggesting any of these possibilities are true. I certainly have no desire to do Donald Trump any favors. But as I began, this blog essay is not about Hillary's merits and the November election.

It is about how the media, Washington insiders, and the rest of us thought and wrote about these events. The predominant response seemed to be simply, "What were they thinking?" The only possibility those asking this question could imagine was that Lynch and Bill Clinton weren't thinking. On the other hand, I believe this bizarre behavior of Bill Clinton and the Attorney General, whose department is investigating his wife's past actions, could be explained by a number of things they might have been thinking. And that if we're going to discuss what they did, and its significance, we have an obligation to get beyond the conclusion that the only possible explanation is that it was just "a striking error of judgment" and a "huge lapse."

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Focus on Muslims Misplaced After Shooting

Focus on Muslims Misplaced After Shooting

Nicholas Johnson

Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 17, 2016, p. A5

[This column appeared in the Press-Citizen's online edition as Nicholas Johnson, "Focus on Muslims Misplaced After Shooting," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), June 16, 2016, 6:51 p.m. It draws upon the earlier blog essay, "Keeping Up With ISIS; There Is Another Explanation for Orlando," June 14, 2016. The column to which today's [June 17] column refers and responds is Ian Goodrum, "Finger-Pointing After Orlando Massacre," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 15, 2016, p. A9.]

Ian Goodrum has reminded us, with writing befitting our City of Literature, of both the causes of the home-grown mass violence in Orlando, and how such tragedies are seized upon by those promoting political or other causes. (“Finger Pointing After Orlando Massacre,” June 15.)

He notes the killers’ “common denominator” is that they are “young, angry men,” and then provides insight into the pathology of their anger.

Among those promoting causes, he observes, are “bloodthirsty pundits and politicians” now calling “for state-sponsored discrimination against believers in Islam, along with a general ramping up of our military presence in the Middle East.”

Goodrum’s right on all counts, as I see it. Our enemy is not Islam. It’s a few of our home-grown, American “young, angry men;” mostly citizens, with a diversity of histories, persuasions, mental conditions, motives, weapons and targets. More domestic hate crimes involve perpetrators who would claim to be Christian than Muslim. Their targets are no more predictable than where a lightning strike may hit — federal buildings, universities, African-American churches, gathering spots for Latinos, Asians, Mormons, Catholics, Jews and the LGBT community.

To reduce mass violence, we must focus on our young, angry men. Our mission: to treat their anger before we have to treat their victims.

That is but one of the reasons why focusing on Muslims is counterproductive. Even if it were not unconstitutional and inhospitable, as President Barack Obama points out, it is precisely what ISIS wants us to do — confirm their assertion that we have declared war on Islam and its 1.6 billion followers, giving an enormous boost to their recruiting.

The “bloodthirsty pundits and politicians” who think more troops and bigger bombs are the answer are clearly not our friends. This is a high-stakes whack-a-mole drama in which all the world is ISIS’ stage, where for every bomb we drop more actors come on stage to respond with creative acts of violence.

ISIS has proven creative and adaptable. When we X-ray passengers for guns, they switch to plastic shoe bombs. When they lose a city, they move elsewhere. When they begin to lose on every battlefield, they invite and train terrorists to execute ISIS-orchestrated slaughter in Europe and elsewhere. When the West’s intelligence capabilities to track their messages, movements, and money begins to interfere with such organized efforts, they need a new strategy.

Here it is.

Our State Department describes Abu Mohammed al Adnani as the “official spokesman and a senior leader of Isis." In September 2014 he used ISIS’ sophisticated communications networks to propagate the following message:

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, French, an Australian or a Canadian, then rely upon Allah, and kill him. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place. Don’t try to communicate with us. Don’t expect our help, he said. Just do the killing, and pledge allegiance to ISIS."

Since that time, in each of those named countries, using the itemized means of murder, followed by declarations of allegiance to ISIS, there have been killings.

Goodrum is right that the Orlando shooting wasn’t the result of “direct involvement or orchestration by” ISIS; as were Orlando officials’ conclusions the shooter wasn’t a “member of ISIS.” But ISIS’ latest strategy may have been at play.

None of which changes the numbers. One day in Orlando, 49 were gunned down. But every day in the U.S., nearly 100 die from guns. An Islamophobic focus on this carnage is both self-defeating and close to statistically irrelevant.

Meanwhile, somebody better tell those “bloodthirsty pundits and politicians” who didn’t get the memo that they’re three strategies behind ISIS, running a trillion-dollar program as old as Windows 95.
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Contact Nicholas Johnson of Iowa City through www.nicholasjohnson.org.

# # #

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Keeping Up With ISIS

There Is Another Explanation for Orlando

And see, Nicholas Johnson, "Focus on Muslims Misplaced After Shooting," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 17, 2016, p. A5

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.

-- Abu Mohammed al Adnani, the “official spokesman and a senior leader of Isis" according to U.S. Department of State, Yara Bayoumy, "Isis Urges More Attacks on Western 'Disbelievers;' Group Spokesman Adnani Seems to be Encouraging Attacks . . .," Independent, September 22, 2014

All Americans share the grief and heartache of our Orlando neighbors.

And almost all wonder how that horrific tragedy could have occurred. Was it a hate crime? Was the shooter mentally deranged? Was it the easy accessibility of AR-15 type weapons? Was it an ISIS-directed attack?

Humans are complex beings whose behavior can be driven by forces of which even they may be unaware. Frustration and anger, focused on one group or another, are often precursors of violence. There seems to be consensus that the shooter was not a "member" of ISIS, communicating with ISIS, following ISIS instructions for this massacre, nor was he trained, funded or otherwise aided by ISIS.

So then why do I say only "almost all" are wondering? Because surely there are some Americans in our national security establishment who are fully aware of the significance of ISIS' role, and what it means for our global anti-terrorist strategy.

And what might they know that they haven't shared with the rest of us?

They know that, however evil ISIS may be, it is also incredibly nimble and adaptive to modern technology and changed conditions. ("Can't bring metal guns or box cutters on planes anymore? OK, let's try undetectable plastic bombs in our shoes.")

In Iraq and Syria they have to risk their lives placing bombs along the roadside. We can drop even bigger bombs from unmanned airplanes without risking the life of a single pilot. It's no match. Theirs is a terrorist operation. Ours is a military operation. We can leave it to the International Criminal Court to sort out the ethical differences.

It's not going well for ISIS on the ground. So much so, that they are now discouraging the flow of replacement troops to help defend their new caliphate state.

They've tried ISIS-trained terrorists executing ISIS drafted plans outside of their territory -- in Europe and elsewhere. Sometimes successful (from their twisted perspective), that approach is also not working as well as it once did. The U.S. and its allies have become better at tracking the movement of their members, money and messages. Besides, it's expensive at a time when cash flow is declining.

So now they're trying another innovative strategy.

Officials from Orlando assure us that the shooter was not a member of ISIS, as he claimed, since it would be inconsistent with his claims at various times to have been a member of other terrorist organizations, some of which were opposed to ISIS. Officials are probably right about that -- if not solely for those reasons. And a few years ago that would have cleared both ISIS and the shooter of any ISIS involvement.

But those observations miss what Paul Harvey used to call, "the rest of the story."

To understand the latest switch in ISIS strategy and tactics you need to reflect, first, on the expression "practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." Are you familiar with it? Do you practice it? I try to.

Note that, in following it, little if any money or other resources are required -- and certainly no major military operation. It may be simply a kind word or greeting to one of those millions of Americans who go through their days feeling as if they must be invisible to the rest of us.

Note also that there is no organizational planning or operation. This is not something that your local church, synagogue, or mosque is behind, orders you to do, or assists you in executing -- although it is something that may be consistent with its teachings.

Now consider, if it is possible for undirected individuals to do "random acts of kindness" all on their own, with little resources and no direction, it is also possible for undirected individuals to do "random acts of violence."

Indeed, the expression "random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty," at its creation, was a rejoinder to the expression "random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty."

And that, like the switch from guns to plastic bombs on planes, is ISIS' latest switch in strategy and tactics for responding to what they view as our war on them.

Their message, first in the fall of 2014 (as quoted at the top of this blog essay), and repeated this spring, has been (in effect and sometimes literally): "Don't come to the Middle East to fight along side us. Don't travel to training camps to learn terrorist techniques. Stay where you are, use what you have, kill and injure those you can reach. It doesn't have to be a military facility. You don't have to use a bomb. You don't even have to use a gun if you don't have one. You can kill with a knife, or a rock, or a car. You can drop someone from the roof of a tall building. Don't contact us. You don't need additional permission or instructions. But for the sake of keeping the ISIS movement alive, it is very important that you make a public declaration that you have done what you've done in the name of ISIS."

This is what happened in Orlando. Yes, there was hatred; yes, the shooter is at best a very odd duck; yes, AR-15-style weapons are easily accessible in Florida. But the pattern of violence followed by a statement of allegiance to ISIS is clear.

This pattern -- random acts of violence, followed by a statement about ISIS -- has evolved from repeated incidents in Australia, Canada, France and the U.S. (involving guns, knives, and automobiles) -- the very countries, and methods, suggested by Adnani. Orlando is just the latest.

Oh, no, I guess it's now just next to the latest: "The murder of two police officials by a man claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State (IS) is 'unquestionably a terrorist act,' President Francois Hollande says." BBC -- "30 minutes ago."

That switch in ISIS strategy makes the job of the NSA, FBI, CIA, military, and local law enforcement even more difficult than it is already. But it's the consequence of our military "success" in Iraq and Syria, so we best confront that reality and pivot as promptly as possible -- starting with a public discussion of what we're now confronting.

[With thanks to Rachel Maddow.]

# # #

The following day [June 15] a story appeared in the Washington Post that provides support for some of the assertions in this blog essay:
“America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state . . . I pledge my alliance to [Islamic State leader] abu bakr al Baghdadi . . . may Allah accept me,” Omar Mateen wrote [in Facebook] . . ..

Mateen then posted . . .: “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” and “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes . . . now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” . . .

The social media postings corroborate accounts that Mateen was motivated in part by a perceived connection to the Islamic State. The shooter made 911 phone calls during the shooting in which he pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, . . ..

FBI Director James B. Comey said . . . there were no signs that Mateen was directly tied to any kind of network, and . . . it remained unclear exactly which extremist group he supported. Mateen’s references to terrorist groups have at times been muddled. Officials say he made comments in recent years to co-workers claiming he had family connections to al-Qaeda and was a member of Hezbollah, two opposing terrorist groups that have clashed repeatedly in Syria.
Kevin Sullivan, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky and Mark Berman, "Orlando Shooter Posted Messages on Facebook Pledging Allwegiance to the Leader of ISIS and Vowing More Attacks," Washington Post (online), June 15, 2016, 11:12 p.m.

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Thursday, June 09, 2016

On Being, Doing and 'Compromise'

What's Next for Senator Sanders' Revolution? Here's My Suggestion

In one way, what Sanders and Clinton will be doing is common at the end of spirited nomination battles. . . . Leading Democrats say that this time is different and potentially more difficult.

For one, Sanders operates outside the Democratic Party structure. He has run in Vermont as an independent and self-described democratic socialist. And although he caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, his ties to the institutional party are decidedly looser than were Clinton’s.

Even more important, however, is that his candidacy . . . generated great enthusiasm and spawned a powerful grass-roots movement made up of independents and others who do not identify with the Democratic establishment.


-- Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, "Next for Democrats: A Delicate Dance to Broker Peace Between Clinton, Sanders," Wasington Post (online), June 8, 2016.

For Sanders, as his remarkable White House bid runs out of next stops, the only question is when. Just as important for Sanders is how to keep his campaign alive in some form, by converting his newfound political currency into policies to change the Democratic Party, the Senate or even the country itself, on issues including income inequality and campaign finance reform. . . .

Clinton told The Associated Press in an interview, "I think it's time that we move forward and unite the party and determine how we are going to defeat Donald Trump, which is our highest and most pressing challenge right now." . . .

Sanders ended his final California rally with three simple words — "The struggle continues" — but his brief address in a Santa Monica airport hangar felt at times like a valedictory as he thanked supporters for "being part of the political revolution."


-- Erica Werner and Josh Lederman, "Sanders Under Pressure to Quit as Democrats Look to Unite," Associated Press, June 8, 2016.

"Being" and "Doing"
In 1960, fresh-faced in my early twenties, I arrived in Berkeley, California, to begin my career as a law professor at Boalt Hall, the University of California's College of Law. It was only two years of judicial clerkships after having been a law student. The offer had come from the Boalt Hall Dean, Bill Prosser -- a colorful torts guru, formerly only known to me as the author of my torts textbook.

I was so inexperienced, naive, and curious that I once simply asked Dean Prosser straight out, "What is it that law school deans actually do?"

He smiled and replied, "Nick, it is the job of the dean to do those things that even the janitor refuses to do."

His reply has stuck with me over the years as colleagues at Iowa, and friends elsewhere, have expressed interest in applying for law school or other deanships. Recalling that a department head has been described as "a mouse training to be a rat," I ask them, "Now tell me, is it that you really want to do what it is deans do, or is it just that you've always wanted to be a dean." When they reply, "I've just always kind of wanted to be a dean," I say, "Very well then; go and be a dean, but my guess is that in two or three years you'll decide you'd really rather do what it is professors do" -- as often later proves to be the case.

Being and Doing in Politics

And what applies to teachers and professors aspiring to be educational administrators goes ten-fold for politicians seeking ever "higher" public office. They may talk a good game regarding what they will do for their constituents once elected. It may all be disingenuous, or may be partially sincere, if naive. But for many, it's not what they want to do. The enormous effort and sacrifice that goes into campaigning is largely, even if not exclusively, an ego-driven desire to be -- a congressperson, senator, or president of the United States.

Clearly, Hillary Clinton has been a legitimate policy wonk -- from her early days on the board of Marian Wright Edelman's Childrens Defense Fund through her unsuccessful efforts with health care reform during her husband's presidency. (Ms. Edelman was later enraged by the harm to children from the Clintons' "welfare reform" efforts. Her husband, Peter Edelman, resigned his White House job over it.) And although her speeches now focus on Trump's less endearing qualities, as the Democrats' earlier presidential primaries moved on she certainly weaved into her stump speeches some of Bernie Sanders' substantive talking points, either in whole or in part.

But equally clearly, Clinton, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Party's Establishment, so-called "superdelegates," and their own major donors, have from the beginning of this year's presidential campaign devoted their efforts to what they wanted Hillary Clinton to be -- namely, president of the United States -- rather than what they wanted her to do. (That is, aside from some Wall Street backers who declared themselves to be quite comfortable with what she would do on their behalf). After all, some 400 superdelegates endorsed Clinton before the primaries even began. Their futures and fortunes depend upon a perpetuation of Establishment control. It's probably fair to assume she has wanted to be president since at least 2000, when she ran, and won, a Senate seat from New York -- if not decades before. At a minimum, since she actually ran for president in 2008, we know what she wants to be goes back at least eight years.

Compromise Requires Shared Values and Experience

Those who want to be elected officials, and the campaign advisers and staff who live to experience the excitement of helping them win, have much in common with each other. They know for every winner there's at least one loser. If they want to run again, or work again -- as most do -- they know that, regardless of how vicious the rhetoric the day before, once the winner is obvious it's time to make amends and fall in line.

Shared experience binds those in many professions, up to and including the military. Most military personnel support the Geneva Conventions -- a sort of "Golden Rule of War." They know what it's like to be a soldier, regardless of whose side you're fighting for. Perhaps one of the most dramatic proofs occurred during World War I. David Mikkelson, "Christmas Truce," Snopes.com.
During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, . . ..

All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the "no man's land" between them, came songs from the British and French troops. [T]he Germans . . . were able to speak good enough English to propose a "Christmas" truce. . . .

A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. [T]hey exchanged gifts. Chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games.

It didn't last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn't like it at all . . .. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But . . . for a few precious moments there was peace on earth good will toward men.
Similarly, those who focus on "being in politics" can ultimately come together. Like James Carville and Mary Matalin, they can sometimes even literally intermarry across party lines. At a minimum, within one's party, so long as the winner is within the circle of reason, all party members can reasonably be expected to fall in line for the good of the party and support the winner. (Donald Trump is an example; he is so far beyond the borders of that circle of reason that even members of the Republican Establishment find it necessary to disassociate themselves from him, or at least criticize his actions and remarks.)

The Difficulties of Compromise Between Those Want to Be and Those Who Want to Do

The problem now, for those searching for compromise between Senator Sanders and the Democratic Party Establishment is that it's like trying to find a compromise between rabbits and alligators, bicycles and cruise ships, Iowa summers and snow.

He's just not that kind of politician. Of course, whatever he thought of his chances when he informally declared on April 30, 2015, he could not have been unmindful, as his number of pledged delegates increased along with the size of his crowds, that he might actually win the nomination. But this was not something he and Jane had spent their lives working toward. It was neither the goal of his life nor the centerpiece of his campaign. His was a campaign about doing, not about being. Indeed, he would reject his crowds' chants of "Bernie! Bernie!", from the beginning of the campaign through his Santa Monica rally two nights ago, by telling them that it is they, not just he, who are "part of the political revolution."

Sanders' campaign was just the latest in a lifetime of doing and saying, blending the analysis from his brain with the warmth in his heart, that government can, and should, focus on the needs of the least of us. He was, and is, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. He has been advocating the same things over the past 30 years as he was talking about for the last 13 months. His core beliefs, his consistency, authenticity and caring, his desire to build a revolution that could change our government and improve our lives, was not only at the center of his appeal to the millions in his campaign, it is what has made him the single U.S. senator with the highest approval rating from his constituents -- 83%. He had the highest positives among all the candidates. (Clinton and Trump had the highest negative ratings.) He got the largest crowds, the greatest enthusiasm. He was the favorite, not only among the young, first time voters, but those under 45 years of age -- the people any party needs to build its long term growth.

Put aside the Democratic Party's mistakes -- with Party membership down to 29% of the voters, it needs someone who can attract the independents, new voters (and even Republicans) it often excludes from its primaries. It needs someone who is viewed as a genuine advocate by the poor, working poor, working class, and trade union members -- once the Party's natural, winning constituency. It needs to be able to project the prospect of real change, rather than perpetuation of Establishment control, to the millions involved with the Tea Party, Occupy Movement, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders' campaigns. Everything the Party's leaders do to trivialize, ridicule, and reject Sanders' campaign and proposals, cutting back on opportunities for debates, treating him as a spoiler, putting roadblocks in his way, urging him to abandon his campaign, only drives home the message that the Democratic Party not only does not really care about the less fortunate, it affirmatively rejects those who do.

Why Bernie Cannot, Should Not, and Need Not "Endorse" Hillary -- But Can Still Help Elect Her

While conventional politicians can turn on a dime and start endorsing the opponents they've spent a primary season excoriating, those who are leading "revolutions" cannot. For Bernie to now "endorse" Hillary Clinton -- the poster grownup embodying all he finds objectionable in a politics favoring the rich -- would be the end of his revolution. It would be like Dr. Martin Luther King finishing a speaking tour opposing the Viet Nam War, and then announcing he had just accepted a job as spokesperson for a major defense contractor.

Moreover, whatever Senator Sanders does or doesn't say or do about Hillary Clinton's campaign is not likely to have much impact on his "revolutionaries." Some will end up writing in his name. Some will vote Green, Libertarian -- or even Trump (the Washington Post reports 9% will do so; others report as high as 20%, and 44% in West Virginia). Some will leave their ballot's presidential choice blank. Some will stay home. Some will formally resign from the Democratic Party. And some will end up voting for Hillary Clinton.

Sanders should certainly be permitted to actively participate in the D.C. Primary, June 14. He should be permitted to continue making the case to superdelegates, to and throughout the Democratic National Convention, July 25-28, that if they really want to beat Donald Trump -- more than they want to perpetuate the Democratic Party Establishment from which they feed -- they might want to consider the poll results showing how much stronger a candidate he is against Trump than Clinton.

Does this mean he should continue to criticize Clinton by name, even after she has actually, in fact, been nominated by the Convention? Of course not; nor need he do so. What he can do, indeed has already indicated he will do and has begun to do, is to help her cause by campaigning against Trump -- while continuing to spread his lifelong message, and falling short of doing anything reasonably considered an "endorsement" of a candidate who represents much of what he's been fighting against throughout his life. A significant "detail" in this connection is what happens to Sanders' lists of supporters (the email list) and donors. To simply turn them over to the Clinton campaign would also, legitimately, be seen as a betrayal of a movement challenging much of what the Democratic Party Establishment stands for and does. Perhaps a compromise, if one is thought to be needed, could be an "opt-in" email to supporters -- a sort of, "If you wish to remain on the Bernie Sanders list, and not have your name shared with the Clinton campaign, do nothing. If you wish to have your name and information shared with the Clinton campaign, click here. If you wish to be removed from the Bernie Sanders list click here."

That's the best win-win-win that occurs to me -- for Clinton, Sanders, and the followers of both. That doesn't force him to appear a turncoat to his followers -- thereby reducing further any influence he might otherwise have with them -- while assisting Clinton by beating on Trump. It holds his revolution as together as possible following his failure to win the nomination -- its emailing lists and crowd funding network -- enabling his and his followers' ability to affect the election of progressive candidates and lobby Congress (and the White House) following the election.

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